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Digital Banking App Trends 2021

The digital banking app landscape has developed and evolved to cope with a particularly difficult year and a host of unprecedented challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated trends within fintech in a significant way. As global lockdowns made digital banking a necessity, it became clear that it is essential for banks to provide comprehensive digital banking services. As we look towards a slow return to normality entering 2021, it can be assumed that the momentum within fintech will not slow down. Many customers have become used to using digital banking services and it is unlikely that there will be a significant shift back to offline channels.

There are three main trends that are likely to be developed over the course of 2021. First, smart data will become far more important throughout financial technology tools. Second, financial assistance and educational tools will continue to develop. Finally, the focus on providing excellent UX will be as important as ever as the market becomes more competitive.

Leveraging smart data
The development and usage of new technologies and smart data will become a central tenant of the digital banking app landscape over 2021. Smart data can be used to improve financial insights to offer more accurate PFM, including specific recommendations for customers. Snoop, Revolut, NatWest

Snoop - Grouped insights - FBX Digital Banking App                     Revolut - Visual Insights - FBX Digital Banking App 
 Snoop                     Revolut 

– Insights and recommendations based on spending grouped in one area

Revolut - Visual insights using external logos providing snapshots into spending

Screenshots captured via our Digital Banking Hub

Help and support will also be bolstered through improved development of smart technologies. It is likely that there will be an increased push to offer chatbots as a first point of contact. Throughout 2020 several banks introduced and improved their chatbots. Santander, for example, introduced a basic chatbot this year.

Santander - FAQ Chatbot - FBX Digital Banking App


Santander – Basic chatbot providing FAQ answers to common queries
– screenshots captured via our Digital Banking Hub

These bots offer an effective way of filtering customer’s queries and directing customers to simple solutions. Currently, customers will often be directed to a live agent if the bot cannot solve the query. However, with the development of more sophisticated AI and chatbot technology, chatbots will likely expand the depth of support they can offer.

In addition, Open Banking will continue to be built on to offer more personalised product offerings and partnerships based on user’s data. A particular area of growth within Open Banking will be development of tailored loan offers, improved credit scoring and pension aggregation. Open Banking will also likely be increasingly leveraged in onboarding processes such as mortgage applications.

Full financial assistance
The second trend that will likely be a key area of development in 2021 is a move towards providing complete financial assistance within digital banking apps. Considering the huge financial strain many people have endured over the course of 2020, financial education and assistance has never been more important. This is a great opportunity for banks to provide personalised financial assistance and advice based on a customer’s specific circumstances. This may be in the form of improved PFM tools such as budgeting and savings tools or through more direct financial education platforms.

Credit scoring tools have been a key area of development throughout 2020. It is likely that an increasing number of brands will introduce credit score visualisations as well as accompanying tools to help educate users on what their score’s mean, with actionable advice on how to improve their scores based on their circumstances.

NatWest - Credit Score - FBX Digital Banking App                     Clearscore - Credit score - FBX Digital Banking Apps 
 NatWest                     Clearscore 

NatWest – View credit score with educational resources

Clearscore - View credit score, report, educational resources and recommendations

Screenshots captured via our Digital Banking Hub

Focus on UX
Finally, good UX will continue to be the centre of any banking app. While there has been a significant shift towards online banking over the past year, the key to engaging these customers beyond basic transactional tools is to provide an excellent user experience. Financial tools that were once innovative such as PFM, Open Banking, budgeting and savings pots, are becoming expected as standard across brands. It is therefore essential that the UX is clear, simple and effective at communicating the point of the tool.

Customers are less likely to be apathetic about their banks in an increasingly competitive market in which challenger banks are providing the same services with a much better customer experience. It is therefore essential that incumbents focus on providing the most effective UX to help improve engagement and customer ‘stickiness’. This has been reflected in part in the way more banks have adopted tab bar menus alongside cleaner interfaces. The UX of challenger banks and incumbents are increasingly converging towards a standard, simple to use interface.

First Direct - Simple UI - FBX Digital Banking App                     Monzo - Sophisticated UI - FBX Digital Banking App 
 First Direct                      Monzo

First Direct - Clean and simple UI with tab bar menu

Monzo - Offsets more sophisticated UX with simple navigation and simple UI

Screenshots captured via our Digital Banking Hub

2020 has been a year of uncertainty that has highlighted the importance of financial technology in delivering essential financial services to customers. As we move into 2021 with the world beginning to adjust to a new way of providing banking services, it is likely that digital banking apps will continue to be essential as a first point of contact with financial institutions. Banks that have spent this year ensuring that they offer all of their essential services digitally should now focus on how they can leverage these tools to offer an improved experience. This will be through the use of smart data, improved financial assistance and an excellent user experience.

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